Friday, March 31, 2006

A "Charming" Keyring

Dangling metallic charms. Keyring. (macro) (Click picture for larger view) Posted by Picasa
"The most disastrous times have produced the greatest minds. The purest metal comes of the most ardent furnace; the most brilliant lightning come of the darkest clouds." ~ Francois Rene Chateaubriand (French writer)
Dangling silver charms from my large keyring, cat charms if you must know. The size and weight keep me from losing them. I love silver and gold and platinum, especially when molded into beautiful pendants, rings, bracelets and earrings. And keyrings, of course.

Submission for PhotoFriday topic "metallic". (end of post)

The Bird Brigade

First there was one. Mr. Rhett (Click pictures for larger view) Posted by Picasa
"Everybody loves some birdy sometime." ~ Anonymous
Birdwatching has become a daily pastime for the kitty crew here, thanks to Vicki and her hanging net feeder bags. I finally cleared off the top of the cedar chest so that any and all could watch. We have black-capped chickadees, white throated sparrows and a variety of goldfinch with different shades of yellow visiting daily. Sometimes the "watchers" show up one at a time. They listen intently, watch the flitting birds and go through various routines unique to each cat. (More cats to come...continued)

Mr. Nicky checking it out.
"In order to see birds, it is necessary to become part of the silence." ~ Robert Lynch
Rhett sits at attention, whacking his tail hard on the wood chest but making no other noise. You can see his muscles tense under the fur. One little sparrow hopped from the bush onto the window ledge and looked him right in the eye. Did he know that screen was between he and the "puddy cat?" Willow is alert but totally silent, her big fluffy tail swishing back and forth. She is partial to the finches and their "ker-chick, ker-chick-chick-chick."

Willow trying her "paw" at birdwatching.
"She sights a Bird ~ she chuckles ~
She flattens ~ then she crawls ~
She runs without the look of feet ~
Her eyes increase to Balls ~"
~ Emily Dickinson, (1830 - 1886)
Nicky sits like a statue, only his head moves; his eyes as big as saucers, he is more afraid of the birds but still fascinated. Nicky is our big "scaredy cat", but has started making a daily pilgrimage to the window before ambling off to sleep the day away.

Chloe and Scarlett, two by two. (strange buddies)
"There is no place to seek the mind;
It is like the footprints of birds in the sky."
~ Zenrin
So first they came one by one, then they began to show up two by two with the usual pairings; Rhett and Scarlett, Clover and Chloe, Nicky and Willow. Chloe and Clover sit quietly; no clicking, no tail swishing or flapping; their heads move in tandem following the birds. Occasionally one will reach up and tenatively paws at the window pane. They often sit here for an hour at a time.

Chloe and Clover, sisters in sightseeing.
"The capacity for delight is the gift of paying attention." ~ Julia Margaret Cameron (English pioneer photographer)
And then there were three. The chickadees are loud little devils and attract the most attention. The irresistible drive to see the birds overcomes the usual animosity and Rhett is allowed to join the two sisters. Scarlett is too skittish to join them but she chirrups and chatters and flaps her tail from the bed.

Then there were three. (L. to R.) Clover, Chloe and Rhett.
"Friends are the sunshine of life." ~ John Hay
One day I walked into my room and saw something I thought would never happen. Four cats; sisters Chloe and Clover, Mr. Rhett and Nicky, all intent on birds feeding in the bush. Lots of cats. Lots of birds. I think I counted eight. An event to behold. I've never seen the cats sit this close without a fight erupting. The other two were on the bed and the floor. If there were room, I think they may have ALL been sitting there. Thank you Vicki, no bored cats in this home now.

Close encounters of the unlikely kind.
(L. to R.) Rhett, Clover, Chloe and Nicky.

If the kitties can pry themselves away from all the birds, they will be boarding Friday's Ark and will visit the Carnival of the Cats on Sunday. The carnival is hosted this week by Pet's Garden Blog. Hey! Maybe they will have some birds to look at!.

(end of post, aren't you glad?)

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Duck Tape & WD-40

Duck tape & WD-40.
(You may click the picture for a larger view, but really, why bother?)
Posted by Picasa
"One only needs two tools in life: WD-40 to make things go, and duct tape to make them stop." ~ George Weilacher
Every garage or workshop has these items; I didn't have any trouble finding them in Dad's work area along with his jars of "saved but used" nails; those rusted bent things he won't get rid of because "he might need them sometime", and I'm sure that having to buy brand new ones would break the bank (much sarcasm here). Back to the tools at hand...... (cont.)

I love duck tape. You've all seen the contests where people design clothes or other items from duck tape; I remember seeing a couple whose prom outfits were made out of red, white and blue tape. Frankly I have only worked with the traditional silver color. When I was a college sophomore my dorm room had linoleum floors. In the Oklahoma winter these were freezing in the morning. True we had throw rugs but some girls had room sized carpets. My roommate and I were poor, so we went looking for carpet samples to put together. What we found was even better. For the sum of fifty dollars (this seemed extravagant to us) we could purchase short rolls of excess carpet that were about ten feet long and eighteen to 30 inches wide. They weren't even or straight and the color was almost an olive green and it wasn't shag (shag was all the rage in 1971), but it was carpet. So her boyfriend helped us haul the carpet strips to the dorm, but it still had to be cut and put down. This required a box cutter type knife and (ta-da!!!) duck tape. Janet lived within a reasonable distance from the college so she went home for Thanksgiving; since we lived in Delaware at the time, I stayed in Oklahoma. While the dorm was empty except for a couple of other stragglers like myself, I cut carpet and taped the strips together, trying to form a seamless "wall to wall" look. I did a pretty good job of it, if I must say so. It took the entire holiday weekend to get done. Only one little accident involving my right thumb and the scar is now barely visible; nothing like the time I cut my other thumb while slicing an autopsy brain that required thirteen stitches, but that was years later and another story. Sorry, I digress. Yes, the carpet. The carpet was a big hit and that trusty duck tape did the trick, keeping it together for the rest of that year and two more besides. And our toes were warm and toasty all winter.

As for the WD-40, has there ever been a greater invention? Squeaky hinge? One squirt and it's silent. Sliding door that crunches and sticks? Another squirt and it glides shut with the touch of a finger. It also gets pine tar off of fingers. I'm not sure if any of its ingredients are absorbed through the skin so this is NOT a recommendation, just a report of how I've used it. My ex-husband always called it "skeeter pee." I never knew why. I guess it is just another of those things I didn't get around to asking him during that thirteen year run. Sometimes not knowing why he called it that bugs me, but not as much as other things he did. Maybe some day, someone will understand and let me know.

The other tool I learned to use extensively is the "nail file"; yes, the good old fashioned emery board. But, I think I will save that story for another day.

Submission for Thursday Challenge topic "tools". (end of post)

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Identity Past

Long ago and far away. Posted by Picasa
"Never envy a person unless you are willing to swap identities with them" ~ Unknown
"A man's work is his dilemma: his job is his bondage, but it also gives him a fair share of his identity and keeps him from being a bystander in somebody else's world." ~ Melvin Maddocks
In a previous life this was my vanity plate in Mississippi. It was great fun, easy to remember, personal; that is until I finally realized how small the town was. The day someone came up and said they had seen my car at Walmart, that was the day I changed to the nondescript standard issue. This plate was retired. The car belongs to someone else now and life in Mississippi as I knew it is long gone. I remember the good days there, the good people I met and will forget the rest; But I won't ever live there again.

Submission for LensDay topic "identity". (end of post)


Forsythia. (Macro) (Click pictures for larger view) Posted by Picasa
Forsythia is pure joy. There is not an ounce, not a glimmer of sadness or even knowledge in forsythia. Pure, undiluted, untouched joy. ~ Anne Morrow Lindbergh
The forsythia are in bloom here; in yards and growing wild in wooded lots and along the banks of the highway. The bright sunny yellows, an accent to the bright clumps of daffodils and the pink and purple hyacinth, brightens a cloudy day and competes with the sun when the skies are clear. No tulips or iris yet but the crocus have all but spent themselves.

Mom bought four o'clock bulbs and now we are in the process of cleaning out and tilling up the back flowerbeds to plant them. My daylily seem to be doing well and I think the wildflower seeds are starting to germinate. And I saved seeds from our large Fairy Tale pumpkin last fall; as soon as I figure out when and how to plant them I will find a corner and who knows. Maybe one will grow, oval and ridged and large enough to turn into Cinderella's coach. Ah, yes, some day my prince will come! Then I will need one of those pumpkins.

Forsythia growing wild in the woods.

(end of post)

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Valley View

View from the "domain". (Click picture for larger view) Posted by Picasa
"It was a comfort in those succeeding days to sit up and contemplate the majestic panorama of mountains and valleys spread out below us and eat ham and hard boiled eggs while our spiritual natures reveled alternately in rainbows, thunderstorms, and peerless sunsets. Nothing helps scenery like ham and eggs." ~ Mark Twain (1835-1910), Roughing It.
Nyssa took three pictures from the mountain, the "domain" of the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee. I took them and used a program called PhotoStitch to put them together. While I'm not fond of the school and the social policies there, it is a beautiful campus and area, especially if you are one who loves isolation. With the nearest Walmart a good 25 minute drive, down the mountain and a town with the population of only 2000 (and I don't know if this counts the students), it is as far off the beaten path as you can get. This is the view towards the southwest, Alabama off in the distance.

This PhotoStitch program is fun. I'll have to try it again soon.
(end of post)

Monday, March 27, 2006

I Had A Blog Birthday!!!

SRP, age 2. A very, very, very, very, long time ago. Posted by Picasa
We celebrate birthdays
Our family's, our own,
Our pets, our friends,
Our cars, our homes.

And now blog birthdays?
Why not? There's a time
To review, reminisce
And to generally rewind.

Birthday posts of life, love and loss,
Some joyful, some sad but all enjoyable reads.
"I can do this, it's been almost a year."
"Picture candles, cake, ribbons and beads."

But, alas, I forgot..
My poor brain is spent..
As I read all the others
Mine came and went.

~ srp
(PS: I am not a poet)
This site was one year old on March 24th and started with this post.
(end of post)

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Into The Unknown

Off we go into the wild blue yonder!
(Click picture for larger view)
Posted by Picasa
"When you come to the end of everything you know
And are faced with the darkness of the UNKNOWN,
Faith is knowing one of two things will happen.
Either there will be something solid for you to stand on,
Or you will be taught how to fly."
~ Unknown
Every sunrise leads to a new day of the UNKNOWN. Unknown opportunities, obstacles, happiness, sorrows, difficulties, satisfactions; the list can go on forever. We may think our day is planned and we know what will happen and what we will be doing; but the UNKNOWN is there lurking, waiting to pop in unexpectedly. God has no UNKNOWN and He holds my hand so if I step out and there isn't something solid to stand on, it's OK. I've always wanted to learn how to fly!

Submission for Moody Monday topic "unknown". (end of post)

Saturday, March 25, 2006

March 21st: Spring???

Tuesday, March 21st. This is the first full day of spring?
(Click pictures for larger view)
Posted by Picasa
"Master the night nor serve the snowman's brain
That shapes each bushy item of the air
Into a polestar pointed on an icicle."
~ Dylan Thomas (1914-1953), Welsh poet. "Foster the light."
Tuesday was the first full day of spring; so of course it turned cold. The weather reports predicted a few flakes of snow after midnight here in Virginia Beach but we had only light showers with perhaps a flake or two. Forty-five minutes north and west in Williamsburg, it was a different story. They had snow and from the looks of it quite a bit, for this time of year. So what do college girls do in the middle of the night when it snows? Stupid mom question, I know. They go out in their pjs, galoshes and sweat shirts and build snowmen. Poor thing, he's a bit scraggly with pine needle hair? He might need to look into a hair transplant. It looks like pinecone eyes and stick arms but it seems he is handsome enough to "plant a big one on." (Mom sigh!) Well, if I had to chose between the frog and the snowman, hmm.. that's hard. You can come up for air any time now, Nyssa. Watch out for "yellow snow."

Nyssa plants a big one on Mr. Snowman.


by Gu Cheng
Translated by Joseph R. Allen

I built a snowman
At your front door
To stand in my stead, waiting there
In all its stupidity

Then you buried your lollipop
Deep into its snowy heart
Saying this little sweetness
Would perk it up

The snowman did not smile
Did not make a sound
And then the bright spring sun
Melted him away...

Where is he now?
Where is that candied heart?
A bee buzzes
Beside the small puddle of tears
The kiss was too much for the poor little snowman, he lost his head. No, really, he literally lost his head. At least he felt the warmth of a kiss, although that might have loosened the connection between his head and his torso and caused his decapitation, but nevermind. What is it they say, "tis better to have loved and melted than to never have loved at all?"

"Alas, poor snowman, I loved him well!"

(Disclaimer: I did not take these pictures. You wouldn't find me outside in freezing wet snow in pjs at midnight. I don't want to know who took these. Denial, it's a "mom" thing. And don't call me when that stuffy nose sets in.)

(end of post)

Building a Cathedral

Marble inlay stone. St. Peter's Cathedral, Rome. (Click picture for larger view) Posted by Picasa
"What are you doing?" a man asked of three laborers beside a building under construction. The first man replied, "Stone-cuttin'." The second smiled. "Puttin' in time-until a better job comes along." The third man waited a moment and then said simply, "I'm building a cathedral!" ~ Unknown
Carved marble statues, marble altar tops, and beautiful marble inlaid floors. This seal of many colors is entirely marble; the workmanship is absolutely breathtaking. At one end of St. Peter's is Michelangelo's sculpture "The Pieta", behind glass but still amazing. Did those workers long ago feel the same way? Were they awed, inspired, creating something to last? Or was it just a job? Maybe it is just me, but standing there, I could feel the pride the artisans took in their work.

Submission for PXITE topic "stone". (end of post)

Friday, March 24, 2006

Smooth Waters

Smooth waters. (Click picture for larger view) Posted by Picasa
"O magic sleep!
O comfortable bird,
That broodest o'er the troubled sea of the mind
Till it is hush'd and smooth!"
~ John Keats (English poet)
The smooth waters in the area around Williamsburg, home to crab and fish; the marshes of summer gone but the blue heron remains. He stands in the smooth glassy water, waiting; still and motionless until his next meal is sighted. Then a quick stab at the water and another small fish meets its fate. The water, temporarily disturbed with ripples moving outward, soon quiets and again becomes smooth and still. Another day ends.

Submission for PhotoFriday topic "smooth". (end of post)

Max & The Doggy Daily Times

Max, stops to read the "front page." (Click pictures for larger view) Posted by Picasa
"Dogs need to sniff the ground; it's how they keep abreast of current events. The ground is a giant dog newspaper, containing all kinds of late-breaking dog news items, which, if they are especially urgent, are often continued into the next yard." ~ Dave Barry
This is how we go for a walk. First stop, the light post at the edge of the yard. Max sniffs and sniffs, then leaves a little deposit. This is the front page; stories of the big dog food heist at PetSmart and the gang wars over behind the shopping center. There are also stories about the price of dogfood always going up, up, up, and that family of poodles that had 15 puppies. (Don't they know where puppies come from?) Then it is on to the utility box down the street. (continued)

Here there is more news, perhaps the society page or news about that cute little Pug that lives next door with that nasty dog named "Lovey", that jumps the fence and tries to bite Max's nose through the chain link. Oh! Maybe it's the police report. Maybe Lovey was arrested on one of her excursions!! Max can always hope, can't he?

By the time we get to the next page, Max has about exhausted his supply of "ink" to write his part of the story. This seems to be the sports page and it must be hunting season. Stories of canines catching those pesky squirrels and information on those strange raccoons that decided to mate out in the brush back of the fence. So, that's why they sounded like screaming banshee!

On the way home he stops to read the daily comics and the editorial page. He feels torn when other dogs rant about the cats and how horrid they are. Max is a dog but six of his best friends and sleeping buddies are cats. He'd like to leave his own opinion, and he tries but there just isn't anything left. So home we go to rest for another day.

Max wants to let everyone know that he is doing well right now. He has made new friends at the oncology office, has had two doses of cytoxan and the skin nodules have all but disappeared. He's gained a little weight from the prednisone and maybe because his mom gives him more snacks and spoils him rotten. So far, life is good and it's almost FIG SEASON!

Max will visit Friday's Ark today and will go see his buddies this weekend at the Carnival of the Dogs, hosted by Mickey's Musings. Hope to see you there!

(end of post)

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Two Cool Cats

Cool Nicky (Click pictures for larger views) Posted by Picasa
"While walking, examine the walking; while sitting, the sitting... ~ Zen saying
This pose, is it a boy cat thing? I've never seen the females sit this way, just Nicky and Rhett. Nicky seems to copy Rhett. Rhett has his "I am so cool" look going and both are staring at phantoms. So different, yet so alike. All they need now are sunglasses.

Cool Rhett.
Rhett and Nicky will be swaggering on over to board Friday's Ark and plan to visit the Carnival of the Cats on Sunday, hosted by Scribblings this week. (end of post)

Where, Oh Where Is Clover?

"Where, oh where, is Miss Clover?" (Click pictures for larger view) Posted by Picasa
"Places to look: behind the books in the bookshelf, any cupboard with a gap too small for any cat to squeeze through, the top of anything sheer, under anything too low for a cat to squash under and inside the piano." ~ Roseanne Ambrose-Brown
Places to hide; under, in, behind, inside, on top of, in the back of.. all sorts of places. Miss Clover has found a place to hide, behind books and gifts stacked at the front of the easy chair. The humans have left a small crevice to hide behind. She thinks to herself, "They will never find me here and I can sneak around the house later tonight." Cats always think no one can see them if their head is out of sight. She is snuggled down for a warm nap..YAWN!!!!! I've got to quite watching her or ... YAWN!!!! I'll have to find a place to hide and take one too!!! YAWN!!!!!

Miss Clover will be aboard the Friday's Ark this week with all the other animals and she will be visiting the Carnival of the Cats on Sunday at Scribblings. That is, of course, if we can FIND her. (Wink, Wink)

"She's behind the (hay)stack, fast asleep." Posted by Picasa
(end of post)

Colonial Government

Capitol Building, Colonial Williamsburg Posted by Picasa
"It is error alone which needs the support of government. Truth can stand by itself." ~ Thomas Jefferson
American statesman (3rd US President: 1801-09)
The oldest representative assembly in the country first met in Jamestown, Virginia in 1619. After the Jamestown Statehouse was destroyed by fire for the third time in 1698, the government was moved to Williamsburg. It met in the Wren Building, now on the campus of the College of William and Mary, until this Capitol Building was finished in 1705. This was the first governmental building to which the label "capitol" was given. In this building Patrick Henry delivered his Caesar-Brutus speech against the Stamp Act on May 29, 1765. The building was last used as a capitol on December 24, 1779, when the General Assembly adjourned to reconvene May 1 at the new capital, Richmond. It was used as a hospital, a court and as a variety of schools. It burned and bricks were sold after demolition. The Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities deeded the grounds to Colonial Williamsburg in 1928, and Colonial Williamsburg reconstructed the Capitol of 1705-1747. The current building was dedicated in 1934 and the representatives still meet here one day of the term, every other year. Once a year, a naturalization ceremony is held at the Capitol, during which a new group of immigrants becomes Americans, continuing a process begun in the building nearly 300 years earlier.

Submission for Lens Day topic "government". (end of post)

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Up In Flames

Feel the energy! MSMS Girls Basketball. (Click for larger view) Posted by Picasa
"Love the moment, and the energy of that moment will spread beyond all boundaries." ~Corita Kent
Girls basketball is all about ENERGY! It is hot, fast, fierce, intense, dynamic and SMOKIN'! It may be March Madness for the guys teams, but the girls are ready to put the guys to shame and make the courts go up in flames!

Submission for Thursday Challenge topic "energy". (end of post)


Reaching for the prize balloon. (1987, Nyssa, 1 yr)
(Click picture for larger view)
Posted by Picasa
"Life has loveliness to sell,
All beautiful and splendid things,
Blue waves whitened on a cliff,
Soaring fire that sways and sings
And children's faces looking up
Holding wonder like a cup."
~ Sara Teasdale
The toddler years now gone; and yet, the wonder in the eyes, the expectation on the face, the reaching for things just out of reach, the hopefulness; all these remain in the young lady who was first my daughter and is now my friend. I love you Nyssa.

Submission for Moody Monday topic "emotional". (end of post)